Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday shopping for shelter cats: 10 things to buy

Shelter cats would love a few gifts on Black Friday
Every year, some 3.4 million cats enter the United States shelter system. That number comes straight from the ASPCA, and it can give a many cat lovers pause. Should we head out and take them all home? Probably not. Cats are territorial creatures with definite opinions about how much space they both want and need. Some of your resident cats just won't appreciate a new furry friend.

But shelter cats like Thunder Cat here (awesome name, right?) do deserve our attention, care and pampering while they wait for their forever homes.

And you can help on Black Friday.

Adding just one little item to your shopping list and sending that item on to a shelter cat could make a huge difference. And I have 10 really great ideas, and many of them don't cost very much at all. So here they are, in no particular order:
  1. Canned cat food. Shelters use wet food for animals recovering from surgery, shy kitties that are too nervous to eat and older kitties with tooth difficulties. Any flavor, any size, is totally appreciated.
  2. Towels. Kitties emerging from surgery are often cold and a little frightened. A towel that's been gently warmed in the dryer can provide a world of relief. And most towels really don't cost very much at all. You might even have one or two older towels in your closet that could help a kitty in need.
  3. Cat treats. Small treats are great for nervous kitties. Shelter staff can use these snacks to lure shy ones up to the front of their cages, so adopters can see them. 
  4. Wand toys. Feisty kittens cooped up in kennels can quickly become destructive kittens. Wand toys help them to work off excess energy, and some can be attached to the front of the kennel, so little ones can bat away when the people are gone. 
  5. Small litter boxes. All cats need litter boxes. And the older those boxes are, the more claw marks and odors they retain. Small litter boxes fit nicely inside of kennels, and a shelter can never have too many. 
  6. Cat litter. Can you imagine how much cat litter a shelter uses? Trust me, it's a lot. A box or bag of your favorite litter could be a great addition to shelter stock. 
  7. Cat kennels. Kitties moving into foster homes need to ride in a carrier that's safe and comfy. And that carrier might be the kitty's home base in the foster home, too. Nice carriers do the trick. 
  8. Cat brushes. Even nervous cats like a good brushing from time to time, and a freshly brushed cat looks a lot nicer to adoptive families. Adding a few brushes (even human hair brushes work nicely) to your shopping cart is a smart idea. 
  9. Tiny cat toys. Balls, stuffed mice and jingle bells are wonderful for bored cats, and they'll fit right inside of a kennel. A handful of toys can make a really nice donation piece. 
  10. Cat artwork. Shelters love to make the space look clean, light and bright. And cat-themed artwork can help a great deal. Look for framed prints or other pretty pieces while you're out and about, and consider donating those to your shelter. 
So that's it! Much of this list comes straight from the shelter wish list of the animal shelter I volunteer with: Willamette Humane Society. But I'm sure your local shelter has its own needs. Do you know of any? Leave me a note in the comments!

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